Earlier this week, a video began making rounds online in Saudi Arabia showing two colleagues – an Egyptian man and a veiled Saudi woman – having breakfast at work. The two reportedly worked at a Jeddah-based company and had to pay a hefty price for the crime of sharing a meal.
Shortly after the video of the two sitting on a desk as they ate their meals went viral, authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested the man, sparking widespread controversy where some celebrated his detainment while others criticized the ultraconservative kingdom for its draconian laws.
However, as BBC Arabic reported, the hijab-clad woman in the footage, who at one point appeared to be feeding her male coworker something, has also been arrested.
It’s unclear what either of the two detainees will be charged with.
Man arrested in #SaudiArabia for having breakfast with #woman.— Dr.Bal (@DrBal8) September 11, 2018
Saudi authorities have arrested an Egyptian hotel worker who appeared in what officials described as an “offensive” video eating breakfast with a female co-worker. #مصري_يفطر_مع_سعوديه pic.twitter.com/x53lznVcHr
People in Saudi Arabia can now apparently get arrested for something as trivial as having breakfast with a colleague of opposite gender.
An Egyptian man, reportedly working in a multinational company in Jeddah, recently uploaded a video on social media that showed him sharing a meal with a female Saudi coworker. The clip, which appeared to have been filmed in the office, went viral in the ultraconservative kingdom with some online users expressing outrage at the seemingly normal scene.
At a time when women in Saudi Arabia are being encouraged to join the workforce as part of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s vision, the Egyptian employee learned the consequences of challenging the draconian societal norms in the country the hard way after he was arrested for appearing in the video.
Announcing the news of his detainment, the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development also released a statement on Twitter saying it had contacted the owner of the company where the two colleagues worked to investigate the “violation of the women working conditions.”
Most online users believe the part in the video where the woman appeared to be feeding lunch to her male coworker is what caused so much controversy.
While there were some who berated the Saudi woman for allowing her coworker to eat with her…
??? ??? ???? ??????? ????? ?? ???????? ?? ??????— ??????? (@Kaser_F16_) September 9, 2018
“You should punish the company’s owner and then the people who appeared in the video.”
Scores of social media users were also irritated by the arrest.
It's insane how the Saudi authorities reacted to that.— ?????????????? (@lamujja) September 9, 2018
Even creepier how this went viral.
You ppl literally have no life#????_????_??_??????
#????_????_??_??????— ByAnyMeansNecessary (@Egy_Malcom_X) September 9, 2018
Best distraction policy to manipulate public opinion, best way to deal with the dangers of social media on regimes is to make it busy in rumors and trivial topics to distract public from their own main problem, their regimes.
Stupid & dumb #Arabs
Why are you making a very big deal out of it ughh #????_????_??_??????— ??? (@rthedep) September 9, 2018
I bet it will be fine if he took a picture with naked men. This country moves backward everyday #????_????_??_??????— Meme Thief (@IV236) September 9, 2018
Despite recently lifting its widely-criticized ban that prohibited women from driving, Saudi Arabia is still notorious for subjecting its female population to some of the world’s harshest and most stringent laws.
Meanwhile, it also remains unclear if the Egyptian employee has been charged with anything yet or if the woman seen in the video still has a job at the company.
Banner / Thumbnail : Pexels, Helena Lopes